Drink Driving

We represent motorists charged with drink driving offences, including drink driving, being drunk in charge, failing to provide a specimen or being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

As specialists in our field we are able to use our expertise to secure our clients the best possible outcome in their case, be this their acquittal (being found not guilty), the avoidance of disqualification (special reasons), the reduction of the length of disqualification from driving and in more serious cases the avoidance of a custodial sentence.

What is the penalty for drink driving?

For offences of drink driving, failing to provide a specimen and driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs the sentence is as follows:

  • Fine and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months
  • Obligatory disqualification from driving for 12 months
  • Where a second offence is committed within 10 years a minimum period of 3 years disqualification will be imposed.

For an offence of Being Drunk in Charge of a Motor Vehicle the sentence is:

  • Fine and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months
  • The endorsement of 10 penalty points or disqualification from driving (usually ranging from 6 – 18 months)

What are the defences?

The defences which may be argued in cases of drink driving can range from factual defences such as, “I wasn’t driving” to technical defences surrounding the operation of the evidential breath testing equipment and the breath testing procedure.

The defences which may be argued to offences of Drink Driving include:

  • I was not driving or attempting to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle
  • I was not on a road or public place
  • I was acting under circumstances of duress
  • “Hip flask” – I consumed alcohol after ceasing to drive but before providing a specimen of breath
  • Procedural – The police have not followed the correct statutory procedure in obtaining a specimen from me

The defences which may be argued to an offence of Failing to Provide a Specimen include:

  • I was not driving and the request for me to provide a specimen has been made in bad faith
  • I had a reasonable excuse for not providing a specimen e.g. a medical reason
  • Procedural – The police have not followed the correct statutory procedure in requiring a specimen from me

The defences which may apply to an offence of Being Drunk In Charge include:

  • I was not in charge of the vehicle
  • There was no likelihood of driving whilst the proportion of alcohol in my breath was above the prescribed limit
  • My specimen is unreliable
  • “Hip flask” – I consumed alcohol after ceasing to be in charge but before providing a specimen of breath
  • Procedural – The police have not followed the correct statutory procedure in requiring a specimen from me

Our Expertise

We are experts in defending cases of drink driving and work with the leading experts on alcohol analysis.

We have successfully defended a large number of motorists charged with drink driving related offences and are happy to be judged by our success.

If you are charged with a drink driving offence we are happy for you to contact us for a no obligation consultation.

Minimising Sentence

If you accept you have committed the offence there  is still benefit in presenting strong mitigation such that the court is persuaded to sentence you more leniently. The presentation of well prepared and strongly argued mitigation can result in benefits both with respect to the length of any disqualification imposed and also the nature of the penalty which the court applies; strong mitigation in more serious cases often meaning the difference between a custodial sentence and a community penalty (e.g. unpaid work, curfew or supervision) or the difference between receiving a fine and a community order.

In all cases we will make submission to the court that you should be allowed to attend on a drink driver awareness scheme, which once completed reduces any period of disqualification imposed by 25%. This provides a significant reduction in the length of disqualification which is ultimately served and allows your licence to be returned early.

We have extensive experience in mitigating drink driving sentences on behalf of clients, including avoiding a custodial sentence for a client whose breath alcohol reading was 185 mg per 100ml of breath and many cases where we have persuaded the court to impose the minimum disqualification of 12 months which has then been further reduced to 9 months upon the completion of a drink driver awareness course.

Special Reasons

The magistrates have a discretion not to disqualify from driving if there are “special reasons” in connection with an offence. These reasons must not relate to you (e.g. you will lose your job if you are disqualified) and must relate to the circumstances of the offence such that they are extenuating circumstances.

If the court makes a finding of special reasons, it may either not disqualify for the offence or may endorse penalty points in the alternative.

Examples of “Special Reasons” not for imposing disqualification include:

Laced drinks


Shortness of Distance Driven

Mouth Alcohol

We have extensive expertise in arguing “special reasons” and have avoided the disqualification of a large number of clients on these grounds, including cases in which our client has been misled as to the nature of the alcohol that they were drinking.

If you think that you may have a “special reason”, please contact us for a no obligation consultation about your case.

If you require further information on drink driving offences please visit our sister sites –